After 2 games off in the last 4 days, the Angels will be playing 14 games over the next 14 days with 11 of them being against AL West opponents at home in Anaheim. They have only 1 more day off before heading into September.
As far as pitching matchups go, the schedule would seem to be in the Angels favor as potentially their 3 top pitchers will square off against Baltimore this weekend. Angels pitchers will have to keep it in the yard though since Oriole Park is #6 for HR factor across the league.
The Orioles woes as of late are a bit deceiving since in the month of August they have an MLB best .302 AVG along with 90 runs scored and are second in home runs with 29. They are also 5th in team pitching WAR.
Angels bats have been quiet lately and they’ve only scored 8 runs over their past 3 games.
Question: Will the Angels offense bring enough run support in this series?
Andrew Heaney v. Jeremy Hellickson
Friday, August 18th @ 4:05PM
Pitcher vs. Batters
Andrew Heaney is back. Holy crap. Andrew Heaney is back!! It’s been 13 months since Heaney had his TJ surgery and 16 months since he last threw from a big league mound. Back in 2015, Heaney started 18 games and had a 3.49 ERA and 1.202 WHIP. His return to the rotation could a boost to this team as they try to hang on to their wild card spot. He pitched 27.2 minor league innings this year and had a combined 2.60 ERA and 1.193 WHIP.
Back on August 8th, Hellickson gave up 3 runs to the Angels over 6 innings. He was rocked in his next start by Oakland and gave up 6 runs over 5 innings. He has a 5.13 ERA since July 1st.
Verdict: Heaney has looked very strong in his rehab starts but it’s hard to say how he will perform on his return to the big league mound. Heaney would appear to be the better pitcher in this matchup though and we’ll see how many innings/pitches Scioscia lets him work.
JC Ramirez v. TBD (Kevin Gausman probable)
Saturday, August 19th @ 4:05PM
Pitcher vs. Batters
Baltimore beat up bad on Ramirez last week and he allowed 6 runs over 7 innings. The boxscore, however, looks worse than it should as Ramirez threw 6 really strong innings allowing only 2 runs. The key may be him getting pulled before it’s too late like in that last game and hoping he was just a bit tired in that 7th inning, rather than the Orioles figuring him out.
Assuming Kevin Gausman gets the nod, that hopefully bodes well for the Angels who handed him a loss after knocking 4 runs against him in 5.1 innings. Gausman, who has a 5.08 ERA this year has had his moments. In 5 of his last 6 games he has allowed 2 or fewer runs for a 1.28 ERA. Even throwing in the Angels game, he has a 2.55 ERA over his last 6 starts.
Verdict: Gausman appears to be heating up so may give the Angels a good challenge in this game. That along with the Orioles beating up on Ramirez last week makes this possibly the toughest game of this set.
Parker Bridwell v. TBD (Wade Miley probable)
Sunday, August 20th @ 10:35AM
Pitcher vs. Batters
Parker Bridwell really made the Orioles look bad last week for letting him go. He mowed down the orange birds last, allowing only 1 run over 7 innings. If Bridwell were on the Orioles he’d have the best WAR on their entire pitching staff - above Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy who would be next in line and have twice as many innings pitched.
Wade Miley has been pretty much Ricky Nolasco bad this season (with fewer home runs allowed). However, like Gausman, he’s been on a good streak lately and has a 2.97 ERA over his last 4 starts. Miley has an incredibly high walk rate and has walked 9 over his last 3 starts so hopefully the Angels can take advantage of that.
Verdict: My money has to be on Bridwell at this point. He’s been on fire and hopefully the Orioles won’t have him figured out from last week. Miley has been pitching well lately though, so you can’t entirely count him out.
Overall Verdict: The Angels need to have a strong series to keep the pressure on in the wild card race. The Royals play the Indians this weekend, the Twins play the Diamondbacks, the Mariners play the Rays, and the Rangers play the White Sox. One or two of those teams will probably win their series and all 4 of those teams are within 1.5 games of the Angels.